- Reading time: 3 minutes
- Price: Free download
- Published: 22nd November 2021
- Price: Free download
- File format: Text
Gloves and mask on, the dentist placed the almost gleaming set of new dentures into the mouth of his patient. An elderly woman, after living without the majority of her teeth for many years, had finally received her dentures following months of impressions and dental work. Upon receiving a mirror from the dentist, her eyes shot open and showed one of the largest smiles I have seen to this day, crying of joy at the sight of her restored teeth. In front of my very eyes, the dental team restored both the patient’s smile and confidence after so much time had passed without them. This instant while shadowing at the dental office is the exact moment I became fully assured that dentistry is what I wished to pursue. Witnessing the immense value dentists have in society inspired me to want to improve not only peoples’ well-being but also their appearance and confidence.
Although I have not yet had the opportunity to learn and perfect skills and techniques needed for helping patients through dentistry, I have assisted patients through a volunteer position at the same-day surgery department at my local hospital. I recall an instance when a child, freshly freed from his tonsils, was sitting in his assigned room at the hospital with his mother. The anesthesia had begun to wear off, and he began to softly weep because of his throat. Being a volunteer working with the nurses of the department, I took it upon myself to comfort him as much as I could. I swiftly grabbed and handed the boy a cherry popsicle. He instantly perked up with a gigantic smile that filled the room. I think about that moment a lot—and moments like it where I made a noticeable difference in someone’s day. It is this motivation to make these differences that pushes me to want to help patients; being a dentist would allow me not only to make a difference in one person’s day but in many people’s lives.
At college, I have continued the philosophy to try to improve the lives of those around me; one way I have done this is by uniting people through leadership positions. One of the most rewarding endeavors I have undertaken at Gustavus Adolphus College is being a teacher’s assistant for an underclassman biology lab. I find the process of using my own knowledge to further the learning and understanding of others a very rewarding process. In addition, being a president of a fraternity, leading a diverse board of individuals to plan and execute events, means that I can make a larger impact on the community than if I was just by myself. Through my fraternity, I have contributed to raising money for Children’s Miracle Network, cleaning up litter in my college town, and hosting a swab drive in association with the National Marrow Donor Program. I also have made impacts on campus individually by helping run a Special Olympics event, being a representative for the Safer Sex carnival fair to promote safe sexual practices, being elected an officer in the Pre-Health Club to aid those looking towards a future career in healthcare, and participating in the Gustavus Crossroads Program to promote cultural understanding. Through all of these experiences, I have used my knowledge and leadership positions in organizations to strive to benefit the community.
The source of my passion to help, particularly through a dental approach, may have come from when I was very young. At a very young age, I developed a speech impediment, the cause being ankyloglossia. I felt embarrassment for my inability to communicate with others. An oral surgeon later helped me overcome this problem. Even to this day, I give an enormous smile at the very thought of the instrumental work done by those dental professionals to significantly improve my speech as well as my confidence. This experience has led me to want to reciprocate the feelings to as many as I can.
It has been said that your vocation should be where your greatest joy intersects with the world’s greatest needs. For me, I believe that dentistry is this intersection; it combines my passions—helping others, lifelong learning, leading and collaboration, working with my hands, and science—with the tremendous need for dentists in society. Through all of these past experiences, I have realized that dentistry is the field I wanted to pursue; I am confident that this is the profession that will allow me to use my interest, passions, and skills crafted over the years to positively contribute to the health, lifestyle, and confidence of members of the community.